Review Article

Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 303-310

First online:

Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy

Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Management
  • Timothy E. WeltyAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacy Practice, McWhorter School of Pharmacy, Samford UniversityDepartment of Neurology, College of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham Email author 

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Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is a common epilepsy syndrome that begins most frequently in the early teenage years. It is officially classified as a type of idiopathic generalized epilepsy and is often under-recognized or misdiagnosed. This syndrome has a strong genetic component with multiple gene mutations being associated with the clinical presentation. Based upon genetic associations, there may be multiple pathophysiologic mechanisms for the disorder; the pathophysiology has not been clearly defined.

A diagnosis of JME is made using the clinical history and EEG findings. Valproic acid is the primary antiepileptic drug (AED) used for JME, but some newer AEDs may be effective alternatives. Selection of an appropriate AED is essential to the proper management of JME, because of the possibility of exacerbation of seizures by some AEDs and the adverse effect profiles of effective drugs. It is important for clinicians to understand JME to correctly diagnose and manage patients with this syndrome.